It may not have as much bearing as it did last year since the two schools play in different classifications, but the matchup between Tug Valley and Mingo Central is for bragging rights in the county.
The Panthers travel up on the mountain for the first of two meetings between the two county rivals.
“The next three or four weeks on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday will be tough,” Coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson said. “I’m sure they will come ready to play. If we play like we did this past Saturday against Ashland, we should be alright. It is always a good game.”
This will be Brad Napier’s first time going up against Tug Valley as head coach of Mingo Central. He was a former assistant at Logan.
“They have a great team,” Napier said. “Brewer is one of the best players in the state. Newsome, Muncy and some of the other kids they have are really good and they have a lot of experience.”
Last year Tug Valley defeated Mingo Central three times, twice in the regular season and once in the Class AA tournament.
Tug Valley dropped back down to Class A this season, while Mingo is still in Class AA. The two teams will square off again Friday, February 8 at Naugatuck for another regular season contest.
Tug Valley is led by two senior all-state performers from last year’s state championship team. Mikey Newsome and Austin Brewer. Aaron Muncy, a senior, is another returning starter from that squad.
Also seeing action for the Panthers will be senior Corey Dillon down in the low post and Thomas Baisden. Hayden Sturgill. Josh White , Kyle Newsome and Austin Baisden see plenty of action.
The Miners are led by senior point guard Austin Banks, a first team All-Area performer and all-state candidate. He is averaging 18 points per game. Senior Marqus Cunningham, a 6-6 center will start along with 6-2 junior forward Alex Lee, who is averaging 11 point per game. Cunningham is averaging nine points and pulls down about 10 rebounds per game. The other starters are junior guard Julius Hatcher, who has been the Miner’s most consistent 3-point shooter, along with senior Matt Lester.
Napier goes to his bench a lot and has been playing a 10-